So the summer transfer window is finally over. After months of agony, frustration, despair and in some case anger, we finally have our new signings confirmed.
On the 1st July, we recruited Yaya Sanogo on a free from Auxerre, although reportedly it cost us about £400,000 in compensation.
Then, with only 4 days of the transfer window left and with Arsenal fans crying out for a big name signing (or even a “medium name” signing) we confirmed the deal of Mathieu Flamini on a Bosman. While it was a useful signing given his versatility and ability to play in midfield or at fullback, it didn’t excite all the Arsenal fans.
We are a very good team and the Premier League doesn’t lie. We’ve finished in the Top 4 for the last 16 seasons and that’s where we deserve to be, but unfortunately we haven’t manage to break into the Top 2 for the last 8 years. So that is a problem, a frustration if you like, we’ve suffered as a club recently.
You will remember the massive fall out when we lost 3-1 at home to Aston Villa on the opening day of the season. The aftermath was vicious to say the least and every Arsenal fan was angry.
We were paying the highest season ticket prices in the country and not getting a team that could compete. We reportedly had £180 million in cash reserves and spent absolutely nothing.
And then onto transfer deadline day. Arsene teased the media and the fans after we beat Tottenham in the North London Derby, saying he may have “a good surprise” for us all. Even though we had shown little ability to close a deal or complete a signing (I don’t need to mention Gonzalo Higuain or Luis Suarez) I still had that faint hope we would make a signing or two that would get us to the next level.
In the early hours of last night, there were rumours that Arsenal were in for three Real Madrid players – Karim Benzema, Angel Di Maria and Mesus Özil. We were also linked to Demba Ba.
But in the end, Arsene finally opened his cheque book, dusted off the cobwebs and spent big. And this afternoon, it was confirmed that Arsenal had struck a deal with Real Madrid and agreed a £42.4 million fee. Then later tonight, Arsenal.com was finally worth visiting as they confirmed the deal has been completed.
“We are extremely pleased to have signed Mesut Ozil. He is a great player, with proven quality at both club and international level. We have watched and admired him for some time as he has all the attributes I look for in an Arsenal player.
“I have said throughout the summer that we have been working hard to bring in top quality players to this football club. This has involved many many people across the club and I have always had the full support of the club in making decisions on the football side.”
And there is no doubt he is a top top player. He is an exciting signing and will join fellow internationals Per Mertesacker and Lukas Podolski. His assists record for Real Madrid in 3 seasons is outstanding with 74 assists. If you watch the video below, you will see how class he actually is. A midfield consisting of either him, Cazorla, Wilshere, Rosicky and Ramsey is something to get excited about.
We also completed a loan deal signing of Emiliano Viviano who looks like Manuel Almunia’s twin brother. Let’s hope the similarities end there and he doesn’t make mistakes like the former Arsenal goalkeeper.
So that’s it, it’s all over. We can sleep at a reasonable hour, and not check our phones or computers constantly to see if we’ve actually bought anyone. Our new signings consist of Yaya Sanogo, Mathieu Flamini, Emiliano Viviano and Mesut Özil. There’s no doubt who the marquee signing and the others will be useful squad players.
But how did we do this summer? Have we done enough to take our team to the next level?
After the euphoria of Mesut Özil joining, then you would have to say we haven’t done enough. We’ve addressed the goalkeeping situation (in one way) and given Szczesny some competition. But could we have done with another defender? We have Sagna and Jenkinson at right back, Gibbs and Monreal at left back, and three decent central defenders in Mertesacker, Koscielny and Vermaelen. So numbers-wise, it isn’t a disaster, and obviously that’s how Wenger feels. Added to the fact that Sagna can fill in at centre back then Arsene must feel we are strong enough in defence.
In midfield, we now have Mathieu Flamini, Santi Cazorla, Tomas Rosicky, Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshere and Mikel Arteta. That’s 6 players for 3 spaces. We have Theo Walcott and Mesut Özil who can play in a more advanced position alongside the striker and we have Olivier Giroud and Lukas Podolski who can play up top.
For me, if I was being picky (and I am) then I would have liked to see another striker brought in. Demba Ba probably would have been the right call as he is decent enough and if we get an injury to Olivier Giroud then we are in big trouble with Podolski out for the next 10 weeks.
Theo “could” fill in that position but it’s not ideal. Then there is the argument that it wasn’t cover we needed up front but a world class striker. Some are still unconvinced about Giroud and I am still on the fence. He is in excellent form and playing well but I can’t help thinking how good we would be if we had a truly world class finisher.
I am pleased with the Özil signing – you can’t not be after bringing in a world class player – but time will tell if the 4 signings we’ve made are enough to mount a real challenge for major trophies.